Since the NFL adopted its current divisional format in 2002, teams that defeated an opponent in the regular season are 63-44 in postseason rematches that same season. That bodes well for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, winners of their Week 6 clash with the Green Bay Packers by a score of 38-10. The Kansas City Chiefs, who beat the Buffalo Bills, 26-17, that same week, are also preparing for a playoff rematch.

However, those regular season winners have just a 43-61-3 record against the spread in the postseason rematches.

Buccaneers Coach Bruce Arians also struggles to be a worthwhile betting interest. He is 27-36-3 against the spread over the past five years, including this one, counting both regular season and playoff games. The other three coaches still left in the playoffs are well above .500.

2016 to 2020, including the playoffs
Record against the spread
Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers)
22-13-0 (.629)
Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills)
38-27-3 (.585)
Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs)
49-36-3 (.576)
Bruce Arians (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
27-36-3 (.429)

With those and other trends in mind, here is how we expect this week’s playoff teams to fare against the consensus point spreads (as of Tuesday afternoon) from multiple sports books in Las Vegas.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers (-3)

Pick: Green Bay Packers -3

Tampa Bay pressured quarterback Aaron Rodgers on 18 of his 41 drop-backs in Week 6, sacking him four times in addition to forcing a fumble and a pick-six, one of two interceptions on the day and just the third pick-six of Rodgers’s brilliant career. Yet allowing such a pressure rate was an anomaly for the Packers. Green Bay’s offensive line has been stellar in every other game, not allowing a sack during the first five weeks of the season and shutting down the Los Angeles Rams’ defensive front in their divisional game this past weekend.

2020 Green Bay Packers
Pressure rate
Sack rate
Weeks 1 to 5
12 percent
0 percent
Week 6 vs. Buccaneers
29 percent
25 percent
Weeks 7 to 17
15 percent
10 percent
Divisional game vs. Rams
19 percent
0 percent

Plus, the Buccaneers didn’t draw a single flag in that Week 6 win, another anomaly; it was just one of three times a team accomplished that feat this season. (The Seattle Seahawks weren’t whistled for a penalty in Week 4 against the Miami Dolphins, and Green Bay remained penalty-free against the Tennessee Titans in Week 16.) The Packers were flagged six times against the Buccaneers during their regular season loss. The NFC’s two remaining teams averaged five penalties a game this season.

Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (-2½)

Pick: Buffalo Bills +2½

It’s been an uphill battle betting against the Bills in 2020. Buffalo is 12-6 against the spread, including the playoffs, and its starting quarterback, Josh Allen, is 27-17-2 against the spread (.587). That includes a 6-2-2 record against the spread when the Bills have been underdogs of at least three points on the road. (The spread for this game has alternated between Chiefs -3 and Chiefs -2½.)

Meanwhile, the health of Chiefs starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes remains unclear. The former MVP continues to go through the league’s concussion protocols after leaving Sunday’s divisional-round game in the third quarter and subsequently being ruled out, The difference between Mahomes and backup Chad Henne is massive. Mahomes finished 2020 as the second-most valuable passer, behind only Rodgers, while Henne hasn’t been an NFL starting quarterback since 2013. It was estimated in August that the difference in performance between Mahomes and Henne was worth nine points in the typical point spread, which could shift this line quite a bit before kickoff.

Even with Mahomes, Kansas City hasn’t been running up the score on opponents, either. Its past eight wins have come by six points or fewer, and the Chiefs are 1-7 against the spread since their Week 10 bye, failing to cover by an average of four points per game.